Flight test: Air Canada

Route Toronto to Sydney, via Vancouver.

Aircraft Boeing 777-200LR (same aircraft on both legs).

Class Economy, aisle seat 26H.

Flight time With an 8.20pm departure from Toronto and 10.20am scheduled arrival into Sydney, this is one long night's journey into day — best follow Canada's bears and sleep as much as possible. It's a 22hr trip: a 4hr 30min domestic flight from Toronto to Vancouver, where there's a late-night 2hr wait, then 15hr 30min to Sydney, where we arrive 40min early.

Seat width and pitch Seat pitch of 32 inches, seat width of 18.5 inches.

Seat configuration 3-3-3 layout for 228 economy-class seats.

Luggage 23 kilograms of checked luggage and a liberal carry-on allowance of a standard article plus a smaller "personal" article, each weighing up to 10 kilograms. Size defines which items are classified as standard (carry-on bag, backpack, briefcase, laptop, sports equipment) or personal (coat, small purse, stroller, mobility aid or cremated remains ...).

Entertainment The 300-plus hours of entertainment include 35 recent Hollywood releases and seven other movie categories including Canadian, French, family and avant-garde. There is a charge of $C3 ($2.90) for headphones on domestic legs, so BYO headphones or keep hold of them from your international leg.

Service With a packed economy cabin to deal with, the attendants motor through food and drinks service efficiently — but not so efficiently they don't warmly give extra time and attention to the mother who has her hands full with children aged five, three and one in the next row.


Food and drinks On the domestic leg, snacks and light meals such as wraps and rolls are for sale. On the international leg, dinner is served at the disconcerting hour of 4am (Toronto time but, hey, it's dinner time on Australia's east coast). A cry of "beef and barley or chicken and rice?" startles me from a pill-induced slumber and I shovel the meal in. It's warm and comforting. A few hours later there's a snack offered: a sandwich and a couple of fancy biscuits (cranberry citrus oat crunch). Before descending into Sydney, we choose a breakfast of omelet or pancakes, with fruit salad and a bread roll on the side. It never seems like quite the right time for alcohol, but if you're so inclined, the wines are French; brews include Heineken and Molson Canadian.

Flight frequency Air Canada flies daily from Sydney to Toronto via Vancouver. Melbourne passengers fly Qantas to Sydney to connect. A low-season economy return fare costs from $2550 from Sydney and $2574 from Melbourne, including tax.

Online aircanada.com.

Tested by Katrina Lobley, who flew courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission.